In Elemental, chemist and science educator Tim James provides an informative, entertaining, and quirkily illustrated guide to the periodic table of elements that shows clearly how this abstract and seemingly jumbled graphic is relevant to our day-to-day lives.
If you want to understand how our world works, the periodic table holds the answers. When the seventh row of the periodic table of elements was completed in June 2016 with the addition of four final elements—nihonium, moscovium, tennessine, and oganesson—we at last could identify all the ingredients necessary to construct our world.
Tim James tells the story of the periodic table from its ancient Greek roots, when you could count the number of elements humans were aware of on one hand, to the modern alchemists of the 20th and 21st centuries who have used nuclear chemistry and physics to generate new elements and complete the periodic table. In addition to this, he answers questions such as: What is the chemical symbol for a human? What would happen if all of the elements were mixed together? Which liquid can teleport through walls? Why is the medieval dream of transmuting lead into gold now a reality?
Whether you’re studying the periodic table for the first time or are simply interested in the fundamental building blocks of the universe—from the core of the sun to the networks in your brain—Elemental is the perfect guide.
“Perfect for students and newcomers to science writing. . . . From the composition of the stars to the elements most useful to humans, James offers a cheerful selection of short, fascinating chapters suitable for reading in any order. A wide audience can enjoy this accessible peak into the history of chemistry and the periodic table."Publishers Weekly
“Who said science was dry? Certainly not Tim James. Whether he’s discussing strong acids, combustible humans or what would happen if all the elements were mixed together, this book brings the periodic table to life.”New York Post
“A science teacher by profession, Mr. James knows how to get his audience’s attention. . . . Elemental informs and entertains. . . . With hand-drawn diagrams, wacky humor and assorted facts,Elemental is great fun, taking us to realms beyond anything Mendeleyev ever dreamed of.”The Wall Street Journal